Here you are on the dawn of a new year considering becoming a sectional title owner. The following denotes some of the important things you may need to know or keep in mind from development to the transfer. At this point the property ceases to be conventional and becomes a sectional title.

It all starts when the developer acquires property or land. The developer will then prepare a sectional plan which must be approved by the local Surveyor General Office and registered with the local or relevant Registrar of Deeds. Construction on the building or buildings must be complete or sufficiently complete in order that the correct and actual measurements of the units / sections can be taken.

The sectional plan shows how the building / buildings are divided into sections and displays the designated common areas. Sections are individually owned but the designated common areas are owned by all the owners in specific shares / portions. The developer must then lodge and register the sectional plans with the local Registrar of Deeds, this also encompasses the opening of a sectional title register for a new sectional scheme including its rules.

The following must be lodged with the Registrar of Deeds:

  1. Application under section 11(1) of the Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986.
  2. Title deed of the land / property.
  3. Sectional plan.
  4. Schedule of conditions in terms of section 11(3)(b) of the Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986 read with regulation 10(3).
  5. Rules for the scheme.
  6. Documents for the extension of the scheme.
  7. Consent by mortgagee and mortgage bond.
  8. Certificate of real of exclusive use areas – if required.
  9. Certificate of real right of extension – this allows the developer the right to extend the scheme right by erecting buildings for a stipulated period of time.
  10. Certificates of registered title.

The new owners must bear in mind that the developer can only begin construction once funding has been secured. The developer then transfers the units / sections to a third party, this establishes the body corporate. The body corporate is made up of the owners of the units and common area within a sectional title scheme and is officially established upon the first transfer of the first unit. The developer will then call a meeting within 60 days of the body corporate being established and this is where the sectional plans as well as the rates clearance certificate are handed over to the new owners.

The peace of mind that comes with owning sectional title schemes provides people who cannot afford conventional land the benefit of sharing in expenses but still receiving a 24-hour laundry service, gym, swimming pool, tennis court, large garden space and other amenities.

There are various advantages and disadvantages of opening a sectional title register:

  • Advantages:
  1. No delays in waiting for town planning approval from the municipality once the plans have been approved construction can promptly begin.
  2. Less costs involved when it comes to municipal services – electricity, water and sewerage.
  3. Easy management. You set the rules, while they may not be unreasonable or unconstitutional, they may be strict.
  • Disadvantages:
  1. Before the sectional can be registered the whole unit must be complete or substantially complete so that the actual and precise measurements can be taken into consideration.
  2. The gardens are part of the common area and are jointly owned by all the owners, however, it is possible to register an exclusive right to a specific area known as an “exclusive use area” e.g. parking space.
  3. Rules you may not agree with.

Sections are often transferred simultaneously. Sectional title register will the deemed to be open when all the deeds have been signed by the registrar.

When purchasing a sectional title ensure that you know exactly what you are signing up for or investing in. Be mindful of the following:

  1. What you own and what is owned by all the owners collectively.
  2. Understand the financial implications involved in the transfer as well as the generally maintenance of the facilities.
  3. Ensure that the architect and land surveyors are registered with their respective authorities.
  4. The contract of sale should always be clear and concise, and any funds should be held in the trust account of the developer’s attorney or estate agency until the unit / section is registered in the new owner’s name.
  5. Know the levies and rates.
  6. Know the value of your vote.

Stay informed every step of the way, once registered, enjoy your sectional title.


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